Guest Post by Jennifer Allis Provost
My urban fantasy series, Copper Legacy, is set in a modern dystopia loosely based on New England.
Magic has been outlawed, though the government still throws it around like cheap confetti. This is problematic for the main character, Sara Corbeau, who just happens to be an Elemental with an affinity for metal. One of the first questions I asked myself as a writer was where Sara could go to learn about the magic she was born with?
Why, to the Otherworld, of course.
But which Otherworld?
My area of expertise, if you can call it that, is in Celtic mythology. The Irish had many names for the Otherworld, such as Tir Na nOg (Land of Youth), Mag Mell (Plain of Delight), and Ildathatch (Multicolored Palace). [Tweet this!] One could reach these plains of the Otherworld via mounds, or occasionally by travelling under the sea. Irish heroes often journeyed to one or more areas of the Otherworld, usually by invitation of the gods, the Tuatha de Danaan.
Ireland is far from the only culture with an Otherworld, or even one with several names. Greek mythology lists specific afterworlds for the good, the morally ambiguous, and the evil—Elysian Fields, Asphodel, and Tartarus, respectively—though each can be reached via a boat ride across the river Styx; remember to have your coins for the ferryman, Charon, or you’ll be doomed to wander the shores for one hundred years. In Norse mythology, there are no less than nine worlds, ranging from lands populated by frost giants to the gods themselves, all of it connected by the cosmic ash tree Yggsdrasil.
Something else otherworldly planes tend to have in common is some sort of entrance or portal to the parallel dimension; you reached Narnia via a wardrobe, while one took a rope swing to Terabithia. Getting back to Celtic lore, burial mounds and stone circles were both common entrances to the Otherworld, as were apple trees. [Tweet this!] The Scots have a phrase, “offered me an apple”, to describe an invitation to one of these fantastical realms. And, let’s not forget that the Isle of Avalon, where King Arthur may yet slumber, was known for its apples.
All my research came to fruition one day as I whiled away my lunch hour in the office parking lot. At the edge of the lot was the most interesting tree I’d ever seen; well, it was really two trees. They were red pines, each of them at least twenty feet tall, and somehow the trunks had twisted and wrapped around one another like so much rope. It was the most beautiful, unusual tree I’d ever seen, and I knew without a doubt that if I’d seen it a few hundred years ago, I would have thought it a portal to the Otherworld.
That tree at the edge of an insurance parking lot earned itself a starring role in Copper Girl, where it marked where the veil thinned and one could pass easily from one world to the next. Who knows, maybe that is its purpose in this world as well.
Sara had always been careful.
She never spoke of magic, never associated with those suspected of handling magic, never thought of magic, and never, ever, let anyone see her mark. After all, the last thing she wanted was to end up missing, like her father and brother.
Then, a silver elf pushed his way into Sara’s dream, and her life became anything but ordinary.
COPPER RAVENS blurb:
Sara should be happy.
She has what every girl wants: a man who loves her, a beautiful home, and wealth beyond imagining. She rescued her brother from the Peacekeepers, destroyed the Iron Queen, and doesn’t have to go to her boring job any more.
And yet Sara still doesn’t know if her father is alive or dead. Her mother hides in the garden, brooding about her missing husband. Her sister, the Inheritor of Metal, is scared of her own shadow, and her brother spends his days fighting and gambling. To add to Sara’s misery, the new queen (gold, of course) is more than a bit crazy, she misses her life in the Mundane world, and, worst of all, Micah wants to have children. A lot of them.
As Sara wavers between happiness and homesickness, a conspiracy emerges against the Raven clan, implicating them in a plot to dethrone the Gold Queen. How can Sara prove her family’s innocence, and become the consort Micah needs her to be, without losing herself in the process?
Jennifer’s most recent work is Copper Ravens, the sequel to Copper Girl. It was released June 17, 2014 by Spence City, the urban fantasy imprint of Spencer Hill Press. Look for book three, Copper Veins, in July 2015.
Jennifer’s epic fantasy series, The Chronicles of Parthalan, is set to relaunch later in 2014. For those who read Heir to the Sun and wondered what happened next for Asherah, book two, The Virgin Queen, is scheduled for an early 2015 release.
Jennifer’s work can also be found in several anthologies, please visit the bibliography page for more information, and check out the free prequel to Copper Girl, A Raven in Queen Maeve’s Court, here: http://jenniferallisprovost.wordpress.com/a-raven-in-queen-maeves-court/
Follow Jennifer on Twitter @parthalan, or stop by her website http://jenniferallisprovost.wordpress.com/